Sal Pallegrino’s notes for Fitlife presentation

By Sal Pellegrino

A general overview of key trends and how low cost, big box and boutique expansion is effecting the marketplace. We all have more competition than ever, but I will share case studies of four successful Gold’s Gym owners who have made adjustments and thrived nicely in their respective markets. They share unique strategies on, marketing, customer engagement, group exercise, small group training, social media success and re-investment. Sal will finish with a summary of best practices and share a number of ideas as a result of his numerous club visits in 2017. This session is essential for owners, directors, and managers hoping to preemptively prepare for inevitable changes. Don’t miss this informative session with one of the industry’s finest suppliers.
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Bill McBride, Brent Darden & Allison Flatley to speak at Club Industry regarding Leadership Mastery

Track Title:  Leadership Mastery

FitLife will lead with the Leadership Mastery Track title at the Club Industry Show in Chicago, IL on October 4-6, 2017.

The Club Industry Show allows you to meet and network with other industry leaders as well as the people behind the products, face-to-face, and have fun with a community of other like-minded professionals on the exhibit hall floor, in educational sessions and at networking events.

Here are the details of the Leadership Mastery track title:


  • Brent Darden –
  • Allison Flatley –
  • Bill McBride –

Agenda / Sessions:

  • Quick Introduction of all the Track Presenters prior to the first session
  • Invitation for any that want to ask additional questions of all 3 presenters to be in the room at the conclusion of the final session. This option will be shared prior to each session. 15 Minutes or so of Presenters “Hanging Out” – Informal not an official panel – “Meet & Greet”.

Track Sessions (5) – 4 at 75 Minutes / 1 (Lunch at 60 Minutes) 

  1. Leadership – “The Direction & Strategy” – (Brent & Bill)
    1. What Is It? It’s not Management!
    2. High Level. Traits & Characteristics.  Personal Leadership.
    3. Leading in the Future – Trends, Fads & Core
  2. Management – “The Operating Plan” (Allison)
    1. Where the “Rubber Meets the Road”
    2. Alignment / Standards
    3. Manager roles & responsibilities
    4. Accountability & Responsibility for Results
    5. The next generation of workforce
  3. People / Performance – “The Secret Sauce” (Brent)
    1. Finding Candidates
    2. Hiring
    3. Training
    4. Accountability to Standards
    5. Performance Management
    6. Incentive Pay, Rewards & Recognition
  4. Sales & Marketing – “The Engine” (Bill)
    1. Brand Position
    2. Sales Design
    3. Marketing Strategy
    4. Sales & Marketing Alignment
    5. Sales Results
  5. Service & Member Experience – “The Product” (Allison & Brent & Bill)
    1. People (Allison)
    2. Product (Bill)
    3. Process (Brent)
  6. Speaker Meet & Greet – Optional – 15-20 Minutes (All)

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John’s June Musings

It’s that time of year to celebrate “Father’s Day”. As we get closer to the day, the more memories of activities I have of my father. I am my father’s son in so many ways, the personality traits, the love of music, the desire to help people less fortunate, looking for ways to make the world better….etc. I cherish my memories of him and even though he has passed, there isn’t a day that I don’t think about him. May you enjoy the upcoming Father’s Day and please use it as a day to make your father feel cherished and loved.


I’m often asked how the Soapbox newsletter came about. Well, one of the founders of Petra actually published the first edition of the Soapbox back in 1996. Ben Whitham furnished me with the very first edition he published and through modern technology, we are able to share this edition with you. I joined Petra that same year and seeing the very first Soapbox brings back many memories. I hope you enjoy it.


Live Purple is an organization of athletic clubs that are on the front lines in trying to help with the huge crisis of opioid addiction. In the late 1990s many Americans were diagnosed with chronic pain, estimated to affect around 100 million people or a third of the US population. This led to a push by drug companies and the federal government to expand the use of painkiller opioids. But when some patients continue to take the medication beyond what a doctor prescribes, whether to minimize pain or to enjoy the euphoric feelings it gives, it marks the beginning stages of a deadly addiction. Over time, tolerance develops and a person needs to use more to get the same effect. Dependence, or addiction, occurs when a person relies on the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Athletic clubs associated with Live Purple are implementing programs to help people deal with opioid addition. I would encourage you to read the content furnished by Live Purple and contact them on how to become involved.

In doing research on Live Purple, I met with Dr. Gail Krivan, MD who is a specialist and “Board Certified” in dealing with addiction and primarily opioid addiction. She believes there is a need for facilities that can support patients who are dealing with opioids and she has found in her practice that exercise and physical activity certainly speeds the healing process. I had no idea how deep the crisis is and Doctor Gail assured me the opioid crisis exceeds everyone’s imagination. I encourage you to join me in supporting Live Purple and help make a difference in people’s lives.


Here at the Soapbox, we like to support the regional IHRSA organization such as Macma (on the east coast) and Fitlife on the west coast. If you are interested in supporting the regional IHRSA organizations, please review their content. Their summer conferences are worthy of attending and I plan on attending both events. Kerry Campbell facilitates Macma and Neal Simpson oversees activities at Fitlife. Both venues provide sessions on a number of topics that are educational and fun. I look forward to meeting you at these events.


Finally, if your facility is a user of equipment wipes, we need to talk. Petra-1 is one of the largest providers of “antiseptic” equipment wipes in North America. If you provide me the opportunity to quote on our equipment wipe offerings, I believe we can save you money. Besides lowering your equipment wipes pricing, we also provide free freight.


I appreciate your interest in the Soapbox newsletter and if you have a suggestion, question or comment, its always appreciated.


MACMA Leadership Workshop in June to be followed by the 2017 Annual Conference & Golf Tournament in July

MACMA is organizing a leadership workshop, presented by Mark Miller, COO of Merit Clubs on June 14, 2017. This workshop will focus on Membership Experiences in the fitness world and aims to benefit anybody in a leadership position.

The MACMA Annual Conference & Golf Tournament is set to happen on July 12 & 13. While the initial details can be found on our older blog here.

Click here to download the latest conference guide that contains the details of the event.

Brian Walker from Live Purple shares the importance of getting fit, the right way.

I remember the first time I walked into a high-end gym in a fancy neighborhood. The sales pitch was minimal and the transaction went quickly followed by a firm handshake. I was looking to escape daily pressures and for a sense of belonging to a group. It would not take long before I was addicted. That gym was a newly built facility in my school and the addiction was to pain killers. I was 13 years old. I would overdose twice before reaching high school.

My story is far too common. Ninety percent of prescription drug addiction starts between the ages of 12 and 18 years old and nearly one in five teens has already abused a prescription pain killer equating to 4.2 Million teens.  With most public schools either significantly reducing the amount of time spent on health education, or eliminating health education all together, most don’t realize the dangers from prescription abuse and one of the many reasons we the abuse shows no signs of improvement. In 2016, the cost of prescription drug misuse in the U.S. exceeded $443 billion each year.  Ninety-seven percent of the $443 billion was spent on the consequences from the abuse with only 3% spent on prevention.

After decades of working executive level positions in fortune 1000 companies, I found myself 32 years old, exhausted, stressed and out of shape. I entered a different type of gym. I received a different sales pitch than decades earlier yet once again became addicted. This time to fitness. Unlike the high I had sought from pills, my addiction to fitness is under my control. This is of little surprise as some of the brain regions effected by commonly misused drugs are the same regions impacted by exercise.

I recently had the opportunity to listen to the former Surgeon General of the United States discuss the increased risk factors to society of substance misuse including the role of stress, anxiety, and the role the “lifestyle” plays, including lack of exercise. that lifestyle practice has become a major topic as the search to find a solution reversing the current trend is discussed.

Sixty percent of all addicted have a medical condition defined as a dual diagnosis disorder or co-occurring disorder.  Dual diagnosis means the addict also suffers from an additional mental disorder in addition to their addiction disorder. For example, alcoholics often also suffer from symptoms of depression and opioid addicts often also suffer from a type of anxiety disorder (in many cases PTSD).

In the most recent survey of the American Psychological Associations, teens are experiencing as much stress as adults, in and some cases more, leading to feelings of depression and loss of appetite. Adult stress levels are also on the rise with only one in ten saying they’re willing to seek professional support to address the issues. The remaining 90% become prime candidates for attempting self-medication thus dramatically increasing their chances of becoming future addicts.

As fitness professionals, it is imperative we not only remember our purpose but act on “why we do what we do.” Our top priority must remain to use our solutions to better the lives of others in every community in which we operate.  Having a proven solution to help an epidemic, it is our responsibility to expose that solution and inspire the community to participate. If we choose not to support the cause, and we continue to ignore the devastation, this epidemic will continue to spread. The consequences to all will be catastrophic.

Live Purple, A CAUSE FOR FITNESS, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our team has decades of experience and knowledge of all aspects of the fitness industry allowing us to provide you the tools and solutions to impact the addiction, the mental health and the obesity epidemics. Most programs currently offered were created specifically for one of the founders own multi-club fitness companies. Each program is designed from inception to be mutually beneficial, delivering both impact to the community and increasing new business resulting from the cause marketing and brand awareness benefits.  Live Purple is the ideal cause-relationship solution for the health and fitness industry.

Together we can fulfill our responsibility as professionals and help end this epidemic.  To learn how you can have a greater impact, please contact us at  We will have one of our Impact Teammates contact you immediately.

Brian Walker
VP of Research & Education | Co-founder,

2017 FitLife Summer Conference & Trade Show

Dear Soapbox readers:

Information shown below provides you a quick reference on the Fitlife Summer Conference next month in Bend Oregon. My good friend Bill McBride will be returning and I’ll have the opportunity to perform the introduction to his presentation. Every year the Fitlife event gets bigger and better.

We also want to welcome Sal Pellegrino of Precor to this year’s event. I’ve seen him speak at a number of events and he always meets or exceed expectations.

Would love to see you at Fitlife and again, the tradition continues with Petra-1 having booth number “1”



What: 2017 FitLife Summer Conference & Trade Show

Where: Riverside Hotel and Conference Center in beautiful, Bend, Oregon

When: July 16-18, 2017

Who: Members and Non-Members invited. Exhibitors Encouraged

The mission of the FitLife Summer Conference is to create meaningful networking and educational opportunities for the owners, managers and staff of FitLife member clubs and the suppliers who support them. This is not a traditional tradeshow, but rather an opportunity to build real relationships with FitLife clubs owners and staff. As such, exhibitors are welcome and encouraged to attend ALL sessions, meals and events alongside attendees, in addition to working the tradeshow.

The FitLife Summer Conference includes the following events:

  • Sunday, July 16: Welcome, Educational Sessions and Blowout Tradeshow Party
  • Monday, July 17: Breakfast, Educational Sessions, Tradeshow Lunch, Tradeshow Happy Hour, Dinner
  • Tuesday, July 18: Breakfast, Educational Sessions, Lunch, Fitlife Business Meeting.

John’s May Musings

REX Roundtable, if you are not aquatinted with this organization, you should be. Will Phillips the founder of REX Roundtable has written a brief blurb on what to expect from entry-level employees coming into the workforce. I believe you will find his content of interest.

Since joining the REX Roundtable family (as a vendor), I can’t say enough good things about the organization. The quality of clubs, the owners and managers, all with the purpose of helping each other and improving their clubs. The transparency of the REX members is truly inspiring. I encourage you to go to their website ( ) to learn more.

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The Future Workers Are Here

by Will Phillips, the founder of REX Roundtables

Just when you’re getting your hands around millennial generation: how to sell to it; how to market to it; and how to work with millennial employees, here comes generation Z. Gen Z by David and Jonah Stillman looks at workers born between 1995 and 2012. That means the oldest are in their early 20s. You may even have some working for you right now!
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